The motivation for a firm to operate overseas can vary significantly among smaller firms. The reasons why firms internationalise, rather than remain in the domestic market, vary depending upon: their industry, their home country, their managers’ perceptions and decision-making orientation. Companies are influenced by different motivations to reach foreign markets and use different strategies including different entry modes. These motivations can be internal or external, reactive or proactive. This chapter begins by focusing on how different motivations of firms can influence their success in foreign markets from a generic perspective. The authors then present a case study of Brazilian small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the shoe industry, a traditional, low-technology sector, which play an important role in the Brazilian economy. The shoe industry changed significantly over time, until the 1970s had little international experience, in the 1990s was impacted by new Asian market competition, illustrating with firm examples taken from interviews, how SMEs have had to evolve and change their international strategic approaches and motivations over time. The authors conclude with perspectives on SME specificities. Understanding what motivates shoe firms to go abroad and their internationalisation behaviour allows us to provide some suggestions to SME managers in their process of expansion into international markets.
Campos, L., Axinn, C., Freeman, S. and Suder, G. (2018), "Motivations to Internationalise: Evidence from Brazilian Shoe Firms", Dominguez, N. and Mayrhofer, U. (Ed.) Key Success Factors of SME Internationalisation: A Cross-Country Perspective (International Business and Management, Vol. 34), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 225-247. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1876-066X20180000034013
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